We are trying to create a conversation between three opposing forces. Rambam says that it is better to say G*d is not dead than it is to say that G*d is alive since defining something by a negative statement is less limiting.
We are changing the name of the school from Torah Dialectic to the School of Training To Be Monotheists. We use the right brain to find the connection between the words that have the same root, such as Reggel, which is the root of habit, spy, pilgrim. REGGEL is also the root of the English word REGULAR. The spy walks with fear and awareness. The pilgrim walks with head held high. We must all strive to go on a pilgrimage. When Abraham was washing the dust of idol worship from the feet of the Arabs, he was washing their habits off. Rabbi Twerski said that the biggest tyranny is from our habits. The worst habit is anger.
TRIANGLES: The point of the triangle that reconciles the other two points is constantly oscillating. There is no formula for making correct decisions. There is only the tightrope walker, constantly struggling to keep his balance.
It is not accurate to say that G*d is angry. Rather, it is AS IF G*d were angry. It is a metaphor, since G*d does not change. We do not know who G*d is; the names of G*d define aspects or relationships of the Creator. The linear mind says that G*d is a certain way, that the spies are bad and Joshua is good, the stories in the Torah become gossip. The last two parshot were about gossip. The midrash always narrows the gap between the heroes and the villains because this is where we learn. Miracles do not change people.
We cannot quite put our finger on G*d, just like we are not quite able to put our finger on what is going on in a story. The text (written Torah) may be black and white, but the midrash (oral Torah) is ambiguous. Xtianity and Reform Judaism rejected the ambiguity of the oral Torah. When Mrs. Korach said that Moses was making up the laws, she was using the same reasoning. The Aish Kodesh wrote a long essay on the word TO LISTEN. Why did Moshe fall on his face instead of arguing with Korach? Arguing is a difficult skill to learn. LI SHAME SHAMAYIM: awareness of our vices and how they get in the way of our listening. To enjoy being corrected is a big victory. A good argument should transform both parties.
Caleb said he could not tell if Joshua or the spies were correct. Caleb is thus the only spy who is called a servant of G*d because he was the only one who prayed on the matter. We have doubts and we need to find the confusion and then pray.
This is a story about motivations. Caleb was a hero because he had no agenda. It was the custom of the Arizal to recite the prayer which Korachâs sons composed; they did teshuva while falling into the pit. This is the ability to feel pain for our mistakes. The image of the opposite, being so calloused that we are unable to feel pain, is the drums drowning out the sound of the screams of the children as they were burned to death in Gehenim. Guilt is a cover up. Part of teshuva is turning guilt into merit. Teshuva is the strongest force in the universe. When we find the mistake we make the most oftenâthe root of our deficitâit is like walking through a doorway and finding new world on the other side. The expectations of family members can destroy being present (e.g. Elisha ben Abuya).
Dr. Jill Bolte Taylorâs Stroke of Insight http://www.ted.com/talks/jill_bolte_taylor_s_powerful_stroke_of_insight.html The Torah gives us right brain/left brain function in that it is very legalistic and then skips into a story. Shabbos is a day of right brain. Pressing a button is left brain. We have to back off from the left brain to reach the right brain. Shabbos can be filled with busyness, a totally left brain experience. The test of Shabbos is what kind of conversations we have and the way we walk; on weekdays we walk to go from point A to Point B, but on Shabbos we enjoy each step. VI YAHULU: let go of all attachments. They key word is control. Korach is a control guy. This doesnât make him a villain, but a hero! He delineates control in a way that is very meaningful. He was wealthy, brilliant, a star of the camp; he was a great speaker and a brilliant thinker. (Edward G. Robinson (Dasan) was the only Jew in Hollywood who went to shul every Shabbos.)
It says that Moses was teaching about tsistsis; that was the last paragraph of the previous parsha. Korach took himself from the others mentally. Korachâs wife said to Korach that Moses was making up all the laws himself. The royal blue used in the techelles was the same color as the sky and the sea. There is humility, there is separation of things into distinct entities, and then there is the ability to have a sweetening unity of the components. Korach was missing two of those steps because his wife was challenging the distinctions. The doorway is the distinction between the inside of the house and the outside of the house. If you do not understand the distinction that the essential nature that your priority is inside the houseâin our society the inside of the house becomes a filling station and the outside becomes where we prove ourselves. Mrs. Korach is locked into her husband being a vicarious proving ground for her status out there in the world. That is why the mezuzah is pointed to the inside. When we are going out, it is on the left side, which is gevurah, discipline and boundaries. When we are coming in, it is on the right side, chessed; we have to have more love when we are inside the house.
Our dilemma: on the one hand, we do not want blind obedience. On the other hand, we do not want religious defiance disorder. Mrs. Korach was scornful of the Levites shaving all their hair and Moshe shaking them. At that time there was a tremendous dissatisfaction in the camp because it was just after the Israelites found out that they would have to spend an additional 38 years in the wilderness.
The most religious people were Korach and his followers. The wife of On ben Peleth prevented her husband from joining Korach by drugging him and sitting in front of the tent with her hair down. Korachâs men were too observant to approach a married woman whose hair was showing. You have to know when to break a rule. G*d is not the rules, we have to remember to worship G*d and not rules. The parsha of Korach is a Tale of Two Wives.
There is a spark of G*d in every mistake. Something about Korach inspired his descendants to be among the greatest religious leaders we have ever had. Korach, Dasan and Avirum were collaborators but they took the beatings for their people when Pharaoh ordered the straw to be withheld. Where you identify is the purpose of the story. Do you identify with the gossip, defiance, living vicariously? What part of me indulges in gossip? What part of me lives vicariously through my children? I have to ask this of myself every day. These people are heroes because they reported their story accurately for us to learn from. We believe that Korach and Mrs. Korach reported their stories accurately. We are merely trying to infer something from the story that is applicable to us.
The Aish Kodesh says that there is a spark of G*d in every mistake and we have to hear the voices coming from the darkest places in order to say the Shemah. And that is hard. There is a song that I have to be able to hear and to join in, in order to say the Shemah, and that song includes my mistakes. SHIR HA YICHUD. This is like the incense, which is made up of various smells, including some which are stinky. The hardest voice to hear is the voice coming from your own mistakes. Teshuva can turn a mistake into a merit. Miriam was able to teach Moses how to go outside the camp to die.
How to admit your mistake? Allow yourself to feel the pain and the walls that are put up and realizing the loneliness that results from refusing to acknowledge your mistake. Dip your toes in the openness you feel when you are humble and truthful. (SF)
There is G*d pleasure in cookies. If we divorce ourselves from the pleasure of eating, we eat more. The Gere Chasidim refused to eat like animals in the concentration camps. The Nazis wanted Jews to eat like animals: The first people at the meal got a potato and the ones who came later got water, and the Nazis changed the time of the meal without warning. Eating and sex are holy things, and we are afraid of people not eating.
Aish Kodesh page 322
What was Miriamâs greatness? It was the same as the greatness of Moses and Aaron: they could work together. They did not compete for parental love. Moshe screamed when Miriam got leprosy. Miriam made a mistake. WHAT SHE DID A MINUTE LATER WAS IMPORTANT. The Torah zooms in when there is Torah learning, when significant choices are being made.
All awakening is from G*d, but He allows us to reap the benefits of that awakening. Miriamâs merit flowed from below and provided an outpouring of living holy water. On one side we have awakening from on high and on the other side we have awakening from below. This reminds us of the electromagnetic forces which cause the feminine waters to rise in the aquifer when the masculine waters rain down from the sky. Men do not get credit for mitzvoth when they are commanded to do the mitzvoth; the women to get credit when they take on mitzvote which are not obligatory.
The Aish Kodesh does not use the word G*d; he uses the names of G*d in the Hebrew, which are relationships.
G*d, the ultimate mystery, is immanent and transcendent.
Immanent: in every moment, there is HaShem, in the good and the bad, the point that contains all longer lines, the soul voice, the force that animates our body. E.g.: Open the Chumash to this page.
Transcendent: the circle that contains all smaller circles, a unifying song of all of the universes that surrounds all realities, the ultimate mystery that surrounds all universes, beyond all conception. E.g.: driving in the blinding snow and asking G*d to remove the fear. E.g.: feeling small when climbing large mountains, looking at the Milky Way. E.g.: Having a dream of dying and repeating I love you, G*d over and over.
The world of Atzilut is the world of archetypes, the idea that occurs before birthing. G*d is unknowable at this level. The world of Briah is Creation, birthing.
MIKVAH: the numeric value of mikvah is 40, and there are 40 seahs of water in the mikvah. Torah is also the mikvah and the desert is also the mikvah. We go in the mikvah to cleanse our thinking, to elevate our thoughts to do teshuva, to find out where we are being blocked. It is literally an image of returning to the womb of birth. Life came from the water, earth emerges from the water, and we know that we the only wet spot in the universe is Earth.
Rabbi Henoch Dov teaches in Denver, Colorado. You can contact him through his web page, www.RabbiHenochDov.com or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.